Why spend money for a classy basic necessity when you can get the same thing for free? Arguments like that have a few holes, which may explain why we buy luxury cars.
Going from point A to point B takes the same time whether in a lowly Kia or expensive Lexus. But spend money for a calculator on your Mac when it’s free in OS X? Why? Why not?
The coolest free calculator I’ve run into in many years is the calculator included with the iPhone. In portrait mode, you get the basic, simple calculator we all know, love, and wish did more, but never worry much about it because it’s free.
In landscape mode on your iPhone, the free calculator becomes a scientific calculator with more modes, buttons, operators, and goodies, sufficient to make geeks swoon and blondes swoon but for totally different reasons.
As much as I hate to admit it, PCalc is my favorite calculator for the Mac. Think of it as the Lexus or BMW of Mac calculators.
For the geekier numerical crowd of Mac users, you’ll love the fact that it’s a fully featured scientific calculator complete with RPN mode, supporting hexadecimal, octal, and binary calculations (whatever those are—remember, I said blondes swoon, too).
PCalc also handles various programmable functions, and, my favorite—unit conversions. There’s a basic style calculator face; basically a fatter version of the calculator in OS X. There’s a smaller style and a default style of the scientific calculator.
The conversions feature is rather straightforward for those of us into conversions. Select what to convert in one column, select what to convert it from in the second column, and what to convert to in the third column.
Preferences are easy, too, and displays all the keyboard shortcuts which makes using a calculator like a professional even though you’re not.
Also handy is the drawers which pop out to the left of PCalc, to the right, and to the bottom, giving you additional features, a digital version of paper, and other goodies.
Yes, Virginia, there is a Dashboard Widget calculator, and it’s free, too. But so is the PCalc Dashboard Widget calculator. It’s free. Yes, you have to cough up $19 for the Mac version to get the free version, but, hey, this is Alex—there must be something free somewhere, right? This is it.
If you’re still not convinced that PCalc is so cool, and you have an iPhone, $10 gets you a PCalc version for your phone.
You get most of the same basic settings, including regular calculator, scientific calculator, various modes, conversions, and the all important simulated paper tape.
The question of the day is, “Why spend money when you can get the same thing for free?” And that’s really the point with PCalc. A Lexus is not a Kia. PCalc has a large following of dedicated users because it’s a calculator that does more than the sum of the parts.
Yes, it calculates. But it does so in style, Mac style, my style, effortlessly, comfortably, and with 16 digits. All those extra decimal points help me to get an accurate count of how much money I’ve lost in the stock market.
Trust me. PCalc is worthy. And I didn’t even mentioned the candy coated color options for the numerical display.